My young friend, Kegan, to whom I send the Curiosity Clyde letters described in previous postings found out first hand how dangerous 4-wheelers can be. He shattered an elbow in a roll over accident, is all pinned and casted up, and has kind of blown his summer activities. There are new rules at his house. He's had better days:
December 31, 2007
Somehow this year I happened to remember that the NORAD Command Center has a tradition of tracking Santa's progress on Christmas Eve.
First the basics. NORAD officially stands for North American Aerospace Defense Command as exhibited on their official seal.
That makes no sense to me. If that were true, it would be called NAADC. The official name must have been a ruse to assure that paranoid Congresspersons would retain funding for the upkeep of the historic Night Owl Reindeer-Activated Detector (NORAD). I know, because I'm from Wisconsin, the very same state that Senator Joseph McCarthy came from. He's the guy that went after everybody for being Commies and Soviet Spies in my early childhood years. After going after the reputations and livelihoods of public officials and Hollywood stars, he turned his attention to childhood idols like the Little Red Hen and that red-suited demon, Santa Commie Claus. Senator McCarthy's original intent was to detect Santa in the night sky and blast him to smithereens. Fortunately, missiles weren't very accurate in those days. Anyway, while Senator Joe is long gone, the NORAD device is still up and running and with the advent of the Internet, we have the benefit of watching Santa's progress all across the world on Christmas Eve.
So this Christmas Eve, as soon as I remembered it, I tapped into the NORAD website and started calling Kegan, our 6-year old neioghbor. The first time I called, Santa was in Bosnia, but Kegan's whereabouts was unknown, so I had to leave a message. The next time, Santa was in London, but still no Kegan, hence another message. Then it was on to Iceland. This was really exciting to me because Santa was now in the process of crossing the ocean. I couldn't wait to tell Kegan, but all I got was the answering machine. All I could do was leave another news alert. By the time Santa was on the western shore of Greenland, I gave Kegan one last call to warn him that Santa was almost all the way across the ocean, and that I hoped that he got to bed in time. Still not there.
I gave up and went to the Bass Pro Shop website to see whether I could make a last minute purchase of a Night Owl Kegan-Activated Detector, but they were apparently sold out. (Evidently Kegan has become a very popular name.) I turned off the computer and hunkered down in bed with my book and dog and cat foot, leg and chest warmers.
Then, sometime around 8:30, Deb hollered upstairs that Kegan was on the phone wanting to know where Santa was. He had returned home and had gotten my messages.
So I dispersed my multi-component fur comforter, found a phone, and turned on the computer.
Kegan was SO EXCITED, he had to go pee while my computer was booting up. When I finally got on the NORAD site, it turned out that Santa had skipped down to South America before working his way northwards.
"Kegan, he's now in Colombia, South America."
Kegan turned his head away from the phone and started hollering, "Attention. Attention everyone. Please may I have your attention? Santa is now in Cumbia. That's real near Crandon. Everyone has to be in bed at 8:51, so go get ready. I'm going to stay up and talk with Graig now."
"No, Kegan. South America is still quite a ways away. Ooops! He just flew into Panama. He's getting closer."
"Oooooh boy." Turning his head away from the mouthpiece again, I heard him holler, "Everybody. Santa just went to Graig's Pa an' Ma's house. Hurry and get to bed."
"Well, I guess he is getting closer, so I had better get to bed myself, Kegan. I'll talk to you tomorrow morning to see whether Santa made it to your house. Good night."
Scream. "O.K. Click."
In this process, I learned that today's six year old isn't quite up on his geography yet, but there's no doubt about his Santa Claus education.
Follow up: Kegan has called me the last two years to find out how to log into that NORAD site. He's still a believer, still just as excited, and hopefully is learning some geography in the process.
A Spring Walk
13 hours ago